Recorder Sizes 

Recorder Sizes

Recorders are made in different sizes with names and compasses roughly corresponding to different vocal ranges. The sizes most commonly in use today are the soprano ("descant", lowest note C5), alto  "treble", lowest note F4), tenor (lowest note C4) and bass (lowest note F3). Recorders are traditionally constructed from wood and ivory, and now c...

Recorders are made in different sizes with names and compasses roughly corresponding to different vocal ranges. The sizes most commonly in use today are the soprano ("descant", lowest note C5), alto  "treble", lowest note F4), tenor (lowest note C4) and bass (lowest note F3). Recorders are traditionally constructed from wood and ivory, and now come in a wide range of different woods. Recorders are also made in plastic and you can buy beginner as well as high quality plastic recorders. The recorders' internal and external proportions vary, but the bore is generally reverse conical (i.e. tapering towards the foot) to cylindrical, and all recorder fingering systems make extensive use of cross fingering.

Today, recorder sizes are named after the different vocal ranges. This is not, however, a reflection of sounding pitch, and serves primarily to denote the pitch relationships between the different instruments. Groups of recorders played together are referred to as "consorts." Recorders are also often referred to by their lowest sounding note: "recorder in F" refers to a recorder with lowest note F, in any octave.

The recorder is used as an ensemble or consort instrument and comes in a variety of different woods including, pear, maple, plum, palisander, rosewood, olivewood, grenadilla, satinwood and cherrywood. 

Orpheus Music is a Recorder specialist shop. A large range of quality recorders from Mollenhauer, Kung, Dolmetsch, Aulos, Zen-on and Kunath Peatzold. Garklein recorders, descant recorders, soprano recorders, treble recorders, alto recorders, tenor, bass recorders, and great bass recorders. Many different models including Kung studio, Kung Superio, Kung Marsayas, Mollenhauer Canta, Mollenhauer Denner range, Mollenhauer dream.  Also a large range of recorder accessories including cases, thumbrests, straps, stands, oils, cork grease, cleaning rods and brushes.

The recorder is first documented in Europe in the Middle Ages, and continued to enjoy wide popularity in the renaissance and baroque periods, but was little used in the classical and romantic periods. It was revived in the 20th century as part of the historically informed performance movement, and became a popular amateur and educational instrument. Composers who have written for the recorder include Monteverdi, Lully, Purcell, Handel, Vivaldi, Telemann, Johann Sebastian Bach, Paul Hindemith, Benjamin Britten, Leonard Bernstein, Luciano Berio, and Arvo Pärt. Today, there are many professional recorder players who demonstrate the instrument's full solo range and a large community of amateurs.

The sound of the recorder is often described as clear and sweet, and has historically been associated with birds and shepherds. It is notable for its quick response and its corresponding ability to produce a wide variety of articulations. This ability, coupled with its open finger holes, allow it to produce a wide variety of tone colors and special effects. Acoustically, its tone is relatively pure and odd harmonics predominate in its sound.

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